Developmental Milestones and the Case of Crawling

Earlier this morning I posted about napping tips and mentioned that developmental milestones can have an effect on sleep. ... Once you have a good thing going, sometimes there are setbacks. Many parents notice sleep disruptions around developmental milestones as our babies are often more interested in practicing these new skills rather than sleeping. I still remember my son eventually falling asleep slumped over because all he wanted to do was crawl/sit up. And in 2015 an article in the Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development was published confirming what we have already observed in our little ones - learning to crawl disrupts infant sleep. Great... now what, right?!?!

I'm sure you're all wondering what can we do during these times while they are protesting naps because of a developmental milestone like this. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Make sure before naptime/bedtime your little one has lots of extra time to practice this new skill.
  • Have your baby follow you around the house - instead of picking up your baby and carrying him/her into the next room, have them follow you (coax them with a toy and encourage/praise their crawling).
  • Go outside in your backyard or to a park and let them crawl around in the grass and get some sunshine.
  • Exposing your little one to the outdoors and all the trees, leaves, breeze, noises, etc will get their senses going and engage them actively resulting in a sleepy baby.
  • Stay the course...  
  • Typically developmental milestone transitions can last as long as 2 weeks, so before you make any decisions that your baby is "ready" to drop a nap, make sure it's not developmental. 
  • If your baby completely skips a nap just know s/he may go down earlier for the next nap or nighttime sleep.
Miss O. @ 8mos

Miss O. @ 8mos

I went through these transitions with both of my kids... hang in there... and as toddlers now they just bring different developmental milestones that influence their sleep. Sorry... it doesn't completely go away, but you can still have great sleepers regardless of milestones! Here's a picture of my little lady practicing her crawling (or trying to) instead of napping.   



Scher,A. & Cohen, D. (2015). Sleep as a mirror of developmental transitions in infancy: The Case of Crawling. Monograph of the Society for Research in Child Development, 80 (70-88).